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Xbox Series S Outsells PS5 In Japan For The First Time

The Xbox Series S has become an unlikely champion for Microsoft in Japan. The cheaper, 1080p-oriented console has outsold Sony’s PlayStation 5 in Japan for the first time.

The news comes courtesy of Limited Run Games' Japanese business manager Alex Aniel, who quoted sales figures from Famitsu for the week of May 9 to May 15. The Xbox Series S sold 6,120 units, more than doubling the PS5’s 2,963 combined units for both the physical and digital versions of Sony’s console.

Xbox has historically struggled to make a mark on the Japanese market. While PlayStations comfortably sell well into the millions, only the Xbox 360 ever made it into the seven figures in Japan. The Xbox One barely sold over 100,000, and while Microsoft is touting Japan as its fastest-growing market, Xbox Series X and S combined sales are still only just over 200,000, according to Famitsu.

A few other notable observations. Firstly, the PS5’s lifetime sales in Japan are around 1.6 million, far outstripping Xbox, and would likely be even higher but for global supply shortages of Sony’s latest console. Second, the Xbox Series X’s paltry sales indicate that Japan much prefers the smaller Xbox Series S, perhaps due to a lack of 4K TVs in Japan or because Japanese customers prefer "its compact and ‘cute’ design."

Or perhaps last week’s sales figures have more to do with supply than anything else. As one Twitter user noted, Amazon Japan received a shipment of Xbox Series S consoles while PS5s were still out of stock.

TheGamer spoke to several experts recently, and while many expressed doubt that Microsoft would truly break into Japan with the Xbox Series X|S, they did extoll the console for appealing to Japanese audiences. Besides the Xbox Series S's design, Game Pass also offers something that the PlayStation 5 just doesn't: day-one releases of the latest titles. Even with PlayStation's revamped PlayStation Plus, Game Pass will still offer a much larger library of games of newer games than its competitor.

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